The University of Southern Mississippi
An opiate, or narcotic, is a sedative drug that depresses the nervous system and is used to relieve pain and induce sleep. Opiates bring on a sense of euphoria or that to some people may become addictive. The euphoric sensation that it gives off is the reason some people develop a tolerance to receive the same effect. This leads to an abuse or an addiction.
Morphine is the main active compound in an opiate. It is made from the juice obtained from the seeds of a poppy plant called Papaver Somniferum. It is used to provide relief from moderate to severe pain. It is primarily used to treat pain from a myocardial infarction (heart attack) and during labor. Morphine can be administered orally, intramuscularly, subcutaneously, intravenously, into the space around the spinal cord or rectally. Morphine acts directly at the pain modulating receptors called opioid receptors. These receptors respond to natural compounds built by our bodies to control pain experience at different times. Morphine mimics the natural compounds, endorphins and enkephalins, which are peptides produced by the brain. Morphine binds the mu-, and kappa-opioid receptors, nociceptin receptors that are found in the brain, and mu-receptors in the intestinal tract.
Endorphins are neurotransmitter chemicals that send signals from neuron to neuron. They are produced by responses from certain stimuli. They form in many sections of the body such as the brain, nervous system, spinal cord, and pituitary gland. Although they are responsible for blocking pain, they are also responsible for the feeling of pleasure. The way this works is that majority of the emotions are processed in the brain 's limbic syste...
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